The correct answer
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Reforms in IIT entrance exam make schools central to the learning process
The reforms in the entrance examination for the IITs are welcome because they introduce board marks as a meaningful input in the selection process. For years, the IIT-JEE system has been considering how to factor in board results. The first step, taken in 2006, was to require students to get at least 60 per cent in board exams, but this had little impact, since in this age of marks inflation it was a very low cut-off. Attempts to increase the cut-off to 80 per cent in 2009 met with stiff resistance and had to be abandoned.
All these years, the school system has been neglected by bright students who are sent away to coaching institutes. As a result, schooling has suffered. The reform is a small step towards making the school system central to a student's learning experience.
For years, I have seen a tussle between coaching institutes and the IIT faculty that sets the question papers for the JEE. Most of the time, the coaching institutes have come out on top in these tussles. This is not surprising as the members of the IIT faculty who set the question papers have no experience teaching in schools and so papers tend to get tougher every year. Errors in questions have also become common.
I support the reforms because I have found the IIT-JEE system slow to respond to changes because of the way the organisation of the JEE shifts from one IIT to another every year. After the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) was introduced in 2002, the IIT system was following the AIEEE's innovations. Online application, multiple rounds of admissions and online counselling are some of the features that the IIT system adopted from the AIEEE. Further, the increase in the number of students had stretched the IIT system, which was finding it difficult to handle the growing size.
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